Jessica Watson would like to see children around the world pursue their dreams. In order for that to happen, she must first tackle world hunger.

The 22-year-old is a Youth Ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Hailing from Queensland, Australia and awarded Young Australian of the Year in 2011, Watson is the youngest person to ever sail around the world solo and unassisted, having completed the global voyage when she was 16 years old.

Watson’s most recent expedition, however, brought her to Lebanon and Jordan, where she visited Syrian refugees. Her “Sail with WFP” initiative recognizes the intimidating journey made by young Syrians who have left their homes for Lebanon or Jordan. As WFP’s Youth Ambassador, Watson provided food and support for suffering families.

Founded in 1961, WFP is the largest hunger-fighting organization in the world, supplying food in times of emergency and working with communities to create sustainability. The goal of the organization is to end world hunger and eliminate global poverty. Funded by governments, companies and private individuals, WFP provides annual assistance to more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

In Lebanon, Watson sailed with five Syrian and Lebanese youths from Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, to a northern port. In Jordan, she spent time in the Azraq refugee camp. There, Watson met a single Syrian mother Manal and her eight children. She accompanied the family to the camp’s only grocery store, where refugees buy food with electronic food cards from WFP.

Earlier this year, however, WFP had to reduce refugee stipends due to a lack of funding. As a result, the refugee program is 81 percent underfunded and many Syrian families are struggling to stay alive. The organization requires $138 million to continue helping refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq through September.

Watson also visited a Save the Children International youth center in Amman, Jordan’s capital, and hopes her journey will bring attention to the hardships faced by the Syrian people. A WFP Youth Ambassador since her young global voyage, Watson sails towards a new, hunger-free future.

Sarah Sheppard

Sources: WFP 1, WFP 2, WFP 3
Photo: News Pronto


Malnutrition, an ugly consequence of poverty. runs rampant in developing countries. In Afghanistan, the World Food Programme (WFP) is introducing a source of protein less known there. Soya could help stop hunger in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Malnutrition is defined as the lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things or being unable to use the food that one does eat. Malnutrition is commonly due to the absence of quality food available to eat and is often related to high food prices and poverty. A lack of breastfeeding may contribute, as may a number of infectious diseases such as gastroenteritis, pneumonia, malaria and measles, which increase nutrient requirements.

There are two main types of undernutrition: protein-energy malnutrition and dietary deficiencies. Protein-energy malnutrition has two severe forms, marasmus (a lack of protein and calories) and kwashiorkor (a lack of just protein), both of which can be fatal without quick intervention and care.

Soya has been widely used in China for centuries and was even considered one of the five holy crops along with rice, wheat, barley and millet. Soya is very versatile in diets and very healthy, with a high level of complete protein, which means that they contain significant amounts of all nine essential amino acids.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that foods containing soy protein may also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Soya is fairly inexpensive. It’s much cheaper than meat or other protein-rich vegetables, making it a perfect fit to deliver a protein punch to a poverty-stricken nation such as Afghanistan.

Rates of malnutrition in Afghanistan are incredibly high. More than 40% of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished; nearly 10% of children and 9% of women of reproductive age are acutely malnourished, and almost one-fourth of children are underweight.

Soya, with all its health benefits, was virtually non-existent in Afghanistan and very few people knew of its value. The WFP saw soya as a possible answer to the malnutrition poisoning the country and began establishing it in 2014.

According to the WFP, more than 8,000 Afghan farmers were trained in how to grow the protein-rich bean, with over 84 metric tons of seed handed out to farmers. Six factories have now been established in different parts of the country, and several types of soya products are now available in the Afghan markets. The WFP in partnership with Nutrition Education International is teaching communities in Afghanistan to familiarize themselves with soya and several public awareness workshops have been established and are being attended by thousands of people.

Afghanistan is unquestionably one of the most poverty-stricken countries in the world, and malnutrition is a genuine danger affecting the lives of its people. Efforts by the WFP and the introduction of soya with its nutritional benefits could certainly be instrumental in relief for a population plagued by years of war and poverty.

Jason Zimmerman

Sources: WFP, Food and Development (Young)

Of the challenges of the 21st century, one of the largest in terms of magnitude and prevalence is food insecurity. The term food insecurity is used loosely to define inconsistent access to food, due to limitations of resources.

The issue is unfortunately highly prevalent in not only the developing world but in the United States as well. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 in 6 Americans faces food insecurity. This translates to roughly 50 million Americans in total.

These staggering numbers are indicative of what most of us are already quite familiar with: the issue of global hunger. However, the interpretation of its causes, and consequently the approach to its solutions, has been controversial. Many scientists, particularly biotechnologists, regard higher food production as the solution; and in many instances, it is effective.

As a result of agronomical developments, the world today is producing more food per inhabitant than ever before. However, the strides made in scientific innovation have not paralleled the alleviation of global hunger.

In fact, the implications of these discrepancies lie in the inequality of food distribution. For many people, food remains unavailable despite the copious amounts of food that go to waste each day. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost 35 million tons of food were wasted in the United States in 2013. Estimates by the National Resource Defense Council have estimated that 40% of all food produced in America is wasted.

To tackle the issue of wasted food, a Seattle-based startup has come up with a creative solution based on smartphone technology: Leftover Swap. Leftover Swap is a smartphone app that allows users to share their leftover food with others before it goes to waste. The users can snap a photo of their leftovers, and upload it on the app with a location tag. Anyone looking for food can then find all the shared food in their location. To make the app safer for users, it allows for instant messaging within the app where users can agree on a location to pick up food. The app also does not allow any user to charge for their leftover food.

The benefits and the range of applications for the app remain dubious: people who own smartphones are not necessarily the ones in dire need of free food provision. However, as smartphones become cheaper, it may be possible to reach marginalized populations. Moreover, it can be a way for food recovery networks to salvage more food that would have otherwise gone to a landfill.

Many people are also concerned about the degree of safety of food. The Health Department does not evaluate this food, as it is not technically being sold. In spite of the app’s continual reminders to only share food one would eat itself, the hygienic status of the food cannot be positively reaffirmed. The co-founder of the app, Dan Newman, contends that there is a certain degree of faith that needs to be put into this effort, as would be the case if one was being given food as a guest.

The app is to date the only app of its kind and faces some hurdles before it can reach the objectives of sustainability and food equality that it intends. However, it is a step in the right direction, and as interest in the app increases, it is more than likely that we will see improvements both from this app and potential competitors.

Atifah Safi

Sources: Washington Post, NPR, , NRDC, Feeding America, USDA, Leftover Swap
Photo: Newsana

An Instagram post by @michaelkors announced that longtime pals, Kate Hudson and Michael Kors, have joined forces to end world hunger with Kors’ campaign, Watch Hunger Stop.

In the social media post, Hudson and Kors can be seen donning watches from the designer’s own collection, seemingly hinting that just as time is paused in the photo, hunger must be stopped in reality.

The award-winning actress’ first act of charity for Watch Hunger Stop will be to advertise Kors’ new styles of his Bradshaw watch. Each sale of one of these watches will provide a meal for one hundred children in need. Hudson showed her support by posting the ad on her Instagram, @katehudson, as well as speaking about her thoughts of world hunger.

“As a mother, I can’t think of anything more important than raising a healthy and educated generation of children, and World Food Program’s School Meals Program is committed to exactly that,” Hudson said. “This is a cause that I’m eager to be a part of because I believe we can all make a real and significant difference.”

The feeling of excitement was clearly quite mutual. Kors said he chose to work with Hudson because she contributes a positive and irreplaceable vibe to the charity.

“Not only does she have a unique star quality, but she also brings an incredible amount of generosity and a can-do attitude to a cause that is extremely important to me personally,” Kors said.

Kors creates timepieces specifically made to benefit his charity. He was named a United Nations Ambassador for his efforts, which presented meals to 10 million children in need. Kors’ determination is much appreciated by the UN, which said that almost one billion people worldwide go to sleep hungry–that’s 1 in 7 people on this Earth.

The UN also said that hunger not only affects the people suffering but also stifles economic growth in regions where hunger prevails.

“We also should remember that food is good business. When nations solve the problem, it fuels their economy,” said Josette Sheeran, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme in 2010.

With the help of donors and, now Hudson, Kors will continue to fight and raise awareness for hunger for the UN World Food Programme.

Hudson is no stranger to charity. The actress has also worked with Donate Life America, Fulfillment Fund, Healthy Child Healthy World, Last Chance for Animals, Red Cross and WildAid. Her partner in the Bradshaw watch campaign has also contributed greatly to multiple charities. Kors has volunteered to benefit disease, poverty, mental health, environment, conservation and of course, hunger. Kors will release the limited-edition styles of the Bradshaw watch in October of this year. With each sale, Kors will donate $25 to World Food Programme.

To learn more about the cause, visit or search the hashtag, #WatchHungerStop.

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Daily Mail, Look to the Stars, Look to the Stars, Michael Kors 1, Michael Kors 2, United Nations
Photo: Destination Kors

Hunger_ChallengeIt is a simple phrase, proven fact and universal goal all in one: Hunger can be eliminated in our lifetime.

This belief launched the Zero Hunger Challenge in 2012, a program that challenged individuals and organizations to recognize and assist the 800 million hungry people around the world.

Started by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the challenge strives to achieve five outcomes: zero stunted children less than two years, 100% access to adequate food all year round, making all food systems sustainable, a 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income, and zero loss or waste of food.

Ki-moon believes that combining these five elements will create a world with no hunger. The Zero Hunger Challenge encourages participation from a wide range of people and organizations.

Now three years after Ki-moon launched his Zero Hunger Challenge, countries around the world are declaring their own “end hunger” plans.

In May 2015, the United Nations assisted the government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in launching the National Zero Hunger Challenge, which joined with other countries to eliminate hunger and malnutrition while also increasing food resources. Also in May, the Royal Government of Cambodia started a National Zero Hunger Challenge to end hunger in their country by 2025.

As more countries join the National Zero Hunger Challenge, the goal to end hunger becomes more and more realistic. The United Nations estimates that ending world hunger will require investments in rural and urban areas so that poorer people can have access to food and can improve their lives.

Recently, the Zero Hunger Challenge has gained more support from church organizations.

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, a global network of church organizations, asks all uninvolved individuals and churches to join the initiative.

Dr. Manoj Jurian, World Council of Churches coordinator, said, “No one should be hungry, especially in a world that already produces more than enough food to feed everyone. We can build sustainable and waste-free food systems that nourish and support all people and empower the smallholder and family farms that produce that vast majority of the world’s food.”

Dr. Jurian also notes that as religious people, churches are committed to ensuring that no person is hungry. The Bible contains many stories about hunger, the most notable being Matthew 1:25, in which Jesus tells his followers, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.” In these lines, caring individuals aid someone in need of food and water; like so, Dr. Jurian claims it is part of religious duty to help those in need.

With active participants around the world, world hunger can end in our lifetime. To join the challenge, visit:

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: AllAfrica, Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, United Nations
Photo: United Nations


1.76 billion tons of food is wasted globally each year. Food waste is caused by buying or preparing more food than necessary, and not cooking or eating food purchases at all.

To solve this problem and to alleviate world hunger, a group of Swedish master students created FoPo Food Powder. The product is created by turning cheap, nearly expired produce into powder form. By freeze-drying the food, pressure is lowered and water is removed, which results in longer-lasting nutrition in powder form.

Team members Kent Ngo, Gerald Marin, Vita Jarolimkova, Lizzie Cabisidan and Ada Balazy hope that their discovery can help end world hunger and minimize food waste.

The team has three objectives: reduce food waste by turning it into an innovative food product that can be used by people all over the world; extend shelf life while preserving all the nutritional properties and taste; give ugly and expiring food a chance.

“We are not into using a new product or new technology, but creating value out of the inefficiency of the food system,” Marian says.

So far, the powder comes in three flavors: banana, raspberry and mango. The powder retains 30-80% of its nutritional value and can be topped on yogurt and ice cream, baked into recipes, and blended into smoothies.

FoPo Food Powder also offers benefits for food producers and retailers. They can donate or sell their unsellable food, buy FoPo and incorporate it into their recipes, and sell FoPo for a source of good nutrition without additives.

Even further, FoPo offers hope for disaster relief, military and space needs, and providing nutrition to impoverished locations.

Since beginning their project in December 2014, the team has discovered that powdered food is becoming more accepted by consumers, and freeze-drying preserves nutritional value better than other techniques.

FoPo won the Ben & Jerry’s Join Our Core crowd-funding and placed runner-up for Thought For Food Summit, a challenge that helps students with projects to make the world a better place. Currently, FoPo is a finalist for MassChallenge, a community that helps early-stage entrepreneurs with their projects.

FoPo also receives support from both the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Philippines. They are currently launching a test run in natural disaster areas of the Philippines. Local farmers near the test sights will also be donating fruits such as pineapples and mangoes to the trial run.

The team continues to raise awareness and money about their product. With funds, they can find a manufacturer, acquire legal advice and perform further safety testing.

The team hopes to sell to grocery stores and online to big manufacturers in the near future. They also hope to create more flavors of FoPo, see more consumers interested in their product, and feed 9 billion people healthy and nutritious food produced from wasted food.

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: FoPo Food Powder, Mashable, Mother Jones
Photo: FoPo Food Powder

Yaya Touré, who plays midfielder for the UK club football team Manchester City, is used to scoring goals on the pitch. Now he is instead talking about scoring big goals for humanity by working to end extreme poverty.

Touré, who has partnered with the One Campaign, an international non-profit agency which works to fight extreme poverty and preventable diseases in Africa, recently stated in a self-written article regarding development efforts in Africa, “If we work together and play by the rules, humanity can score the great global goals of ending hunger and extreme poverty and building sustainable communities. “

He has also expressed his hopes that Africa can one day become, “The young, dynamic and driving continent it should be, no longer relegated to the subs bench – and help make a better world for us all,” and that he believes, “There has never been more to play for.”

Tourè, who is a citizen of the Ivory Coast and was raised in this sub-Saharan nation, recalls how he channeled all of his energy into education and sport as a young child. His knowledge and personal experiences within a developing region has provided him with a unique perspective about which methods of development will prove most effective within Africa.

He argues that for example, governments within Africa must give women who are smallholder farmers the ability to receive bank loans and property rights. This advancement would not only further promote gender equality, but would also help over 100 million people out of extreme poverty and hunger. Touré also believes that both boys and girls must have equal access to primary and secondary education facilities, which must provide opportunities to learn numeracy, literacy, and IT skills.

With 70% of African workers earning a living from agricultural practices, he argues that the governments of Africa must invest within the agriculture industry in order to both produce larger quantities of food resources and encourage sustainable practices. Touré, who also serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environmental Protection Agency, has joined many other African celebrities in calling upon African leaders and the international community to invest more resources across the continent to smallholder farmers.

He explains in his article that a youth football team requires potential and resources; even if you have the best talent available, they will not develop without the necessary support, training, and resources. Touré compares this situation to the youth of Africa; there is a capacity to build a team with unlimited capacity. He wishes, “For all the young men and women of Africa to have a decent chance of meeting their potential in life. But, for them to be the engine of global progress, they themselves need fuel: for their stomachs, and for their minds.

Touré argues that the rapid growth of Africa’s population, which is estimated to reach two billion people by 2040, must be met with strong efforts by the international community to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty. He has expressed his faith in the potential of the youth of Africa, and believes that, “Unleashed and supported in the right way, these young people could act like rocket fuel to turbocharge African and global prosperity.

James Thornton

Sources: The Guardian, Malawi Nyasa Times, Think Eat Save
Photo: Flickr


Ghana is one of the most successful countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region in combating hunger and malnourishment. The proportion of undernourished people went from 23.5% in 1996 to 2.9% in 2013, allowing them to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1) target for halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger.

In northern Ghana, 63% of the population lives in extreme poverty, and most rely on crop production. Most of the service and industrial industries are in the south, where poverty is less prevalent.

School feeding helps keep malnutrition low: every day, 368 million children around the world eat a meal at school. The World Food Programme (WFP) provides monthly rations to families who send their daughters to school, and they provide scholarships for secondary school to those who complete the program with an 85% attendance rate.

Over 1.7 million children every day are fed through the Ghana School Feeding Program. The Partnership for Child Development (PCD) is collaborating with the government to link nutrition with school meals and community training. One way the PCD is developing nutritious school meals is through the use of an online meal planner.

The web-based planner allows the user to create and add the costs from local ingredients. It links prices from local markets and displays the total cost of each meal. Only 12.3% of the population has access to the Internet, so for those who do not have access, the PCD developed an offline meal planner.

“By coupling high-tech digital resources such as the meals planner with low-tech engagement, integrated school feeding and health programs are vital if governments are to tackle the malnutrition crisis facing the next generation,” said Dr. Lesley Drake, executive director of PCD.

PCD is also combating malnutrition in Ghana through community meetings and 400 community-based champions of health and nutrition in order to convey the importance of proper nutrition and hygiene.

Feed the Future is fighting for food security in Ghana by focusing on rice, corn and soybean production to help farmers where poverty is most prevalent. The agricultural industry needs more support in order to do more research for crop-yielding and improve irrigation infrastructure.

USAID is committed to sustaining agricultural productivity by managing natural resources. Feed the Future and USAID activities support Ghana’s goals of reducing poverty and increasing food security.

Malnutrition in Ghana is declining due to programs like the online meal planner and the work of organizations like Feed the Future and USAID. Undernourishment and hunger continue to decline, but since 2007, the prevalence of underweight children under the age of five in Ghana has only dropped 0.5% after declining 11.8% between 1997 to 2007. Today, 13.9% of children under five in Ghana are underweight.

Donald Gering

Sources: HGSF, Impatient Optimist, Knoema, Social Progress Imperative, UNDP, USAID WFP 1, WFP 2
Photo: Modern Ghana


In April 2015, actress Gwyneth Paltrow accepted the #FoodBankNYCChallenge, which required her to live on a food budget of $29 for one week. Now she reflects on her experience with hunger and the challenge.

Celebrity chef and founder of the challenge, Mario Batali, says, “For one week, walk in someone else’s shoes. Knowledge is power, and by truly understanding what our friends and neighbors are going through, we will be better equipped to find solutions.”

Concerned with the cuts Congress was making to food stamps, Batali sought to encourage people around the United States to experience the difficulty of living on a miniscule allowance.

In addition to nominating Gwyneth Paltrow, he nominated celebrities Sting and Deborah Harry, neither of which participated but donated to the World Food Bank.

Soon after accepting the challenge, Paltrow snapped a picture of her purchases for the week. The caption read, “This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store—what families on SNAP (food stamps) have to live on for a week.” The picture showed brown rice, black beans, a carton of eggs and vegetables.

Her food choices received criticism, especially because the items did not offer the average person’s weekly worth of calories. However, her picture showed how difficult it is to eat healthy while living on food stamps.

Chief marketing and communications officer for the Food Bank of New York City, Silvia Davi, says, “Serving fresh produce is a very big part of what our program offers to families. What we distribute on a regular basis is fresh produce, a lot of the things that were in her image and in her photo.”

Paltrow admits that within four days she quit the challenge and ate chicken and fresh vegetables.

Reflecting on her four-day experience with hunger, Paltrow says, “My perspective has been forever altered by how difficult it was to eat wholesome, nutritious food on that budget, even for just a few days—a challenge that 47 million Americans face every day, week, and year.”

By walking in the shoes of the millions who survive on food stamps, Paltrow is grateful that she can afford to feed herself and her children healthy food.

She says, “I know hunger doesn’t always touch us all directly—but it does touch us all indirectly.”

Most importantly, Paltrow recognizes that hunger impacts millions of people around the world. She declares, “Let’s all do what we can to make this a basic human right and not a privilege.”

In addition to participating in the challenge, Paltrow contributed $75,000 to the Food Bank of New York City.

– Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Daily News, Upstart Business Journal, Huffington Post, E News, Food Bank for New York City, The Wrap
Photo: ABC Today

5 Major Successes in the Global War on Poverty-TBP

This month will mark the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, just two of the programs that constitute the American War on Poverty. Although remaining under constant threat and scrutiny, social programs such as these have noticeably decreased poverty levels in the United States from 26% in 1967 to 16% in 2012. To Americans, those figures might seem significant. However, they pale in comparison to much of the progress made on a global scale. Below is a list of five quantifiable successes in the global war on poverty that put America’s efforts to shame.

1. Between 1990 and 2010 extreme global poverty was cut in half.

Obviously, this is fantastic news for humanity. In 1990, half of the population living in the developing world lived on less than $1.25 per day. Only two decades later, the rate fell to 22%. At this pace the levels of global poverty declined enough to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) five years ahead of schedule. Nevertheless, work still lies ahead for the UNDP. Recent economic stagnation has deflated the prospects for job growth in many developing countries with 56% of all employment deemed vulnerable. Not surprisingly, this employment risk is greater for women, who show higher rates of vulnerable employment across the board. Overall, though, this is a monumental achievement that bodes well for the 21st century.

2. Hunger is expected to decline by half by the end of 2015.

If all goes according to plan this year, global hunger should also meet the UNDP’s Millenium Development Goals. In developing regions, the rate has fallen from 26% in 1990-92 to 14.3% in 2011 to 2013. This adds up 173 million people no longer suffering from chronic hunger. While in 1990, 40% of young children had inadequate height for their age, today this figure stands at 25%. Despite progress, global hunger remains a pressing issue; in total, 842 million people still suffer from chronic hunger. In regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, one in four remain malnourished. While much more still needs to be done, the heads of three U.N. food agencies encouragingly wrote, “This is proof that we can win the war against hunger and should inspire countries to move forward, with the assistance of the international community as needed.”

3. The debt burden of developing countries has fallen greatly.

While concerns over debts have risen recently in developed countries the opposite is true in the developing world. In 2012, the debt burden—or the proportion of external debt to export revenue— was 3.1%, a quarter of what it was in 2000. This is due in part to increased trade, better management of debt and foreign aid from the developed world that have reduced the debts of many of the poorest countries in the developing world.

4. Modern communications is taking off in the developing world.

At the end of 2014, the number of Internet-users worldwide hit nearly three billion people, or essentially 40% of the global population. Of these three billion, two-thirds lived in developing countries, where, according to a UNDP report, “the number of Internet users doubled in just five years between 2009 and 2014.” Africa represents the vanguard of this transition with 20% of inhabitants now on the Internet, in comparison to just 10% in 2010. Still, four billion lack access to the Internet with 90% of these people from the developing world. While today only a third of the youth in developing nations are digital connoisseurs, with five years of experience on the Internet, this number is expected double in the next five years. The global spread of communications technology relies greatly upon young digital natives welcoming technology into the developing world.

5. Africa is actually making notable progress.

Despite its reputation as perpetually impoverished and continuously unstable, Africa has experienced a variety of successes in recent years. Most notably, headway has been made in disease prevention and control. Many countries have experienced dramatic increases in retroviral therapy coverage for AIDS/HIV. Rwanda increased coverage from just 1% in 2003 to 71% in 2007, while Namibia’s coverage grew from 1% in 2003 to 88% in 2007. The Southern African Initiative has also worked to eliminate childhood death from measles in seven countries through vaccination efforts. Economic growth has also expanded, with countries such as Mozambique paving the way. Since the end of its civil war in 1992, Mozambique grew at a rate of 8% annually on average. Between 1997 and 2003, its rate of poverty fell by 15%, lifting almost three million people out of extreme poverty. However, half of its population is still impoverished. Mozambique represents much of Africa’s recent improvements; good, but not yet good enough.

Andrew Logan

Sources: The United Nations, United Nations Development Fund 1, United Nations Development Fund 2, United Nations Development Fund 3, The Washington Post, The World Bank
Photo: Wikipedia